About a third of claims for medical or sickness benefits are related to mental health issues, often resulting from stress. And with the oil sector downturn, mental health claims have increased, a director of an Aberdeen-based financial advisory firm said.
Paul Shanahan, director at Futura Investments, said people left the oil and gas sector for good during the downturn. As the skills shortage deepens, it is not uncommon to see individual employees doing the jobs of two or three people, which adds stress at work and at home. Some are not using their holiday entitlements in full, are often on reduced salaries, and aren’t receiving bonuses.
It’s a recipe for mental health problems. But it doesn’t need to be this way, according to Shanahan, who said many big energy companies have fantastic employee assistance and medical schemes.
He said, “They can put you in touch with talented people who may not always have the answers but can put mechanisms in place to help people cope, something to default to when work issues become overwhelming.”
Shanahan said he knows there are a lot of “fantastic and benevolent employers” out there who think about their employees first. That comes down to leadership, and there should be many leaders in a company, not just the CEO and CFO, but all through the business.
Leaders look after people, he said.
On the other side of the coin, there are places where staff members feel detached from the companies they work for. Because of the lingering memory of the downturn, feelings of suspicion and insecurity remain. Shanahan said “the stress continues” for many people.
“There are still some poorly run businesses that are surviving,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure on people in these companies. We’ve seen companies go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, we’ve seen extra stress and worry placed upon employees, and we’ve seen an impact on senior management from having to make people redundant. It has been very tough.”
At companies that have been acquired, a “disconnect” with the new owners and “brand” may exist, and would need to be addressed. Among all the talk about mergers and acquisitions, the workforce usually gets a mention, but often toward the end of the conversation. It’s the people who are left to cope with the integration process, Shanahan said.
If the new buyers prefer to bring in their own team, the atmosphere in some of those companies could be challenging. A major difficulty is the cultural change that will be required, particularly for those who have worked for the company for a long time and have bought into the culture, Shanahan said. As the skills shortage tightens, talented people will be in greater demand, and can re-evaluate where they want to work. They are going to look at a company’s “cultural identity”.
“People will want to know, ‘apart from the salary, what core benefits do I get? How are they going to look after me throughout potential stress and mental issues’? Shanahan said.”
Read the full story here.
Don't miss our latest HSE content, delivered to your inbox twice monthly. Sign up for the HSE Now newsletter. If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.
18 Nov 2019
- Banff, Alberta, Canada
Refine your technical writing skills at this one-day training course
3 Dec 2019
- Cairo, Egypt
Enhance your understanding of process safety techniques by reserving a place at this 1-day training course
9 - 11 Nov 2019
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
The programme combines expert input, case studies, and immersive scenarios from the E&P and other industries to embed your learning and enable you to progress to the next level of your career.
10 Nov 2019
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Safety Leadership focuses on the ‘Human Factors’ (HF) which complement technical training to optimize reliability, safety, compliance, efficiency and risks within a team-based environment.
This course will help you develop a better understanding of factors that could impact your daily economic decisions as well as establish a new set of applicable tools to use in your professional career.
Through this workshop, attendees will go through the different processes involved in strategic planning including the elements of organizational SWOT, business scenario and options development, elaboration of strategic options and communication to stakeholders.
22 Apr 2020
- Bergen, Norway
Share your expertise at this event
HSE Now is a source for news and technical information affecting the health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility discipline of the upstream oil and gas industry.
©2003-2019 Society of Petroleum Engineers, All Rights Reserved.